Thursday, June 05, 2008

Socceroos among the 10 best in Asia

442 online have given us the updated rankings and it shows Australia on top. I hope no one is taking that for granted like FFA seemed to have done for the Asia Cup.

What rankings don't tell you is how things are going to go in World Cup qualification. Particularly in Asia. As Asian Confederation countries have perhaps the broadest range of climatic and geographic conditions, home ground advantage can be almost insurmountable. As Sydney FC about their match in Indonesia in the team's Asian outings.

When the Socceroos play here it is about entertainment and the business of football. Otherwise we would be setting up stadium in areas of our unique geographic and climatic advantage. But when we play away - it's at altitude in China, 40 degrees and dry in the Middle East, 40 degrees and 100% humidity in Thailand ... Our world ranking means nothing it is about stamina, endurance and the ability to handle culture shock.

Because China has not made points progress against Qatar in the first round of home and away games, Australia's 7 points is well within reach of both those countries. China will have not disadvantage in Australia. Qatar and Iraq, particularly based on the Brisbane performance the other night, could beat Australia in their home conditions.

Even getting to the next round, bear in mind that Bahrain (a seasoned participant at World Cups) has already beaten Japan 1-0.

Yes the Socceroos playing in Europe with our winter acclimatised players are the best team in Asia. In Asia, across home and away, we are as good as: Bahrain, Japan, China (on their day), Iraq (on their day), Iran (remember Sydney?), South Korea, North Korea (bumped us for 1966 and went onto be the surprise of that cup), Saudi Arabia, - and other teams drafting Brazilians for citizenship (and if you think that will end soon because Sepp Blatter says it should remember that Qatar are doing it and their rep is the AFC president. Only 4 and half Asian teams go through.

The answer:
- two or more A-League teams based or regularly playing games up north to produce more and better conditioned players
- win the junior recruitment battle with AFL
- AFL sees their competitive advantage as having locally based stars - so more locally based stars for the Socceroos (Pim to stop encouraging them to go to Europe)

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